Assessment of communication needs and planning communication actions during health crises Communication in health crises

Main Article Content

Athanasios Zafeirakis
Panagiotis Efstathiou


Health crisis communication (HCC) is a challenging and urgent task of the emergency preparedness planning of any welfare state. In this paper, some particular reasons for that will be more specifically analyzed. The action flow of HCC includes the phases of preparedness, warning, response, recovery, and evaluation. For a successful HCC detailed guidelines are also needed, along with profound knowledge of how the crisis stakeholders should deal with the psychological needs of the citizens and the mass media, as well as with some specific technical items. The ultimate implication of HCC is that the public is aware of its right to make informed choices after having been actively involved in the procedure of risk decisions making.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Zafeirakis, A., & Efstathiou, P. (2020). Assessment of communication needs and planning communication actions during health crises. Medical Science and Discovery, 7(12), 712-716.
Review Article


1. Fearn-Banks K. Crisis communications. 2nd ed., Mahwah, NT: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc; 2002. ISBN-13: 978-0805836042.

2. Seeger MW, Sellnow TL and Ulmer RR. Communication and organizational crisis. Westport (CT): Praeger 2003.

3. Seeger M, Pechta L, Price S, Lubell K, Rose D, Sapru S, et al. A Conceptual Model for Evaluating Emergency Risk Communication in Public Health. Health Security. 2018; 16(3):193-203.doi: 10.1089/hs.2018.0020.

4. Reynolds B. Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication; September 2002. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

5. Veil SR, Reynolds B, Sellnow TL and Seeger MW. CERC as a theoretical framework for research and practice. Health Promotion Practice 2008; 9(4):26-34. Available from:

6. Spence P, Lachlan K and Griffin D. Crisis communication, race, and natural disasters. Journal of Black Studies 2007; 37: 539-54. Available from:

7. Ulmer R, Sellnow T and Seeger M. Effective Crisis Communication: Moving from Crisis to Opportunity, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2007. ISBN 9781412914192.

8. Sandman PM. Responding to Community Outrage: Strategies for Effective Risk Communication; American Industrial Hygiene Association 1993, Fairfax, VA. ISBN 0-932627-51-X. Available from:

9. Sellnow T and Vidoloff K. Getting crisis communication right. Food Technology 2009; 63(9):40-5.

10. Veil SR and Ojeda F. Establishing media partnerships in crisis response. Communication Studies 2010; 60(4):412-29. Available from:

11. Shari R, Veil R and Husted A. Best practices as an assessment for crisis communication. Journal of Communication Management 2012; 16(2):131-145. Available from:

12. Novac A. Traumatic stress and human behavior. Psychiatric Times 2012; 18(4). Available from:

13. Glik DC. Risk communication for public health emergencies. Ann Rev Public Health 2007; 28: 33-35. Available from:

14. Lee Y-I and Jin Y. Crisis Information Seeking and Sharing (CISS): Scale Development for Measuring Publics’ Communicative Behavior in Social-Mediated Public Health Crises. Journal of International Crisis and Risk Communication Research 2019; 2(1)1:13–38. Available from:

15. Hill D. Why they buy. Across the Board 2003; 40(6):27–33.

16. Brehm SS, Kassin S and Fein S. Social Psychology 2005. 6thed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN-13: 978-0547126425.

17. Solso RL. Cognitive Psychology 2001. 6th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. ISBN-13: 978-0205309375.

18. Sellnow TL, Ulmer RR, Seeger MW and Littlefield RS. Effective risk communication: A message-centered approach. New York 2009: Springer. ISBN 978-0-387-79727-4.

19. Wray R, Becker S, Henderson N, Glik D, Jupka K, Middleton S, et al. Communicating with the public about emerging health threats: lessons from the Pre-Event Message Development Project. Am J Public Health 2008; 98(12):2214-2222. Available from:

20. Memish Z, Steffen R, White P, Dar O, Azhar EI, Sharma A, et al. Mass gatherings medicine: public health issues arising from mass gathering religious and sporting events (Review) Lancet 2019; 393: 2073-84. Available from:

21. Murphy MW, Iqbal S, Sanchez CA and Quinlisk MP. Post-disaster health communication and information sources: the Iowa flood scenario. Disaster Med Public Health Prep 2010; 4(2):129-134. Available from:

22. Hilyard KM, Freimuth VS, Musa D, Kumar S and Quinn SC. The vagaries of public support for government actions in case of a pandemic. Health Aff (Millwood) 2010; 29(12):2294-2301. Available from:

23. Savoia E, Lin L and Viswanath K. Communications in Public Health Emergency Preparedness: A Systematic Review of the Literature Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science 2013; 11(3). Available from:

24. [Author unknown]. Checklist for planning a national risk communication strategy. Pan American Health Organization 2014. Available from:

25. WHO. Communicating risk in public health emergencies: A WHO guideline for emergency risk communication (ERC) policy and practice 2017. World Health Organization. ISBN 978-92-4-155020-8. Available from:

26. [Author unknown]. Vaccination coverage among Adults in the United States, National Health Interview Survey, 2017. National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Available from:

27. Taylor-Clark K, Viswanath K, Blendon R. Communication inequalities during public health disasters: Katrina’s wake. Health Commun 2010; 25(3):221-229. Available from:

28. Ma R. Media, crisis and SARS: An introduction. Asian Journal of Communication 2005; 15:241-6. Available from:

29. Lariscy RW, Avery EJ, Sweetser KD and Howes P. An examination of the role of online social media in journalists’ source mix. Public Relations Review 2009; 35:314–316. Available from:

30. Austin L, Liu B and Jin Y. How audiences seek out crisis information: Exploring the social-mediated crisis communication model. Journal of Applied Communication Research 2012; 40: 188-207. Available from:

31. Liu BF, Fraustino JD and Jin Y. How disaster information form, source, type, and prior disaster exposure affect public outcomes: Jumping on the social media bandwagon? Journal of Applied Communication Research 2015; 43:44–65. Available from:

32. Frewer L. The public and effective risk communication. Toxicology Letters 2004; 149: 391–7. Available from:

33. Vijaykumar S, Jin Y and Nowak G. Social media and the virality of risk: The risk amplification through media spread (RAMS) model. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management 2015; 12: 653–677. Available from:

34. Coombs T. Ongoing crisis communication: Planning, managing and responding. Thousand Oakes 1999; CA: Sage. ISBN13: 9781452261362.

35. Freberg K, Saling K, Vidoloff KG and Eosco G. Using value modeling to evaluate social media messages: The case of hurricane Irene. Public Relations Review 2013; 39:185-192. Available from:

36. Smith BG and Gallicano TD. Terms of engagement: Analyzing public engagement with organizations through social media. Computer in Human Behavior 2015; 53: 82–90. Available from:

37. Liu BF, Fraustino JD and Jin Y. Social media use during disasters: How information form and source influence intended behavioral responses. Communication Research 2016; 43:626–646. Available from:

38. WHO. Summary report of systematic reviews for public health emergency operations centres. Plans and procedures; communication technology and infrastructure: minimum datasets and standards; training and exercises. World Health Organization 2015; ISBN 978 92 4 150978 7.